A little over a year ago, The Walt Disney Company made a big splash by unveiling the brand ambassadors for its on-demand streaming service platform, Disney+. The star-studded list of ambassadors included the likes of Aras Bulut İynemli, Aslı Enver, Burak Deniz, Can Yaman, Cansu Dere, Demet Özdemir, Eda Ece, Engin Akyürek, Halit Ergenç, Hande Erçel, and Pınar Deniz.
According to rumours, Disney signed an exclusivity deal with the actors for a period of 2-5 years and per their contract, they could only appear in Disney+ originals and/or FOX series, as FOX manages the Disney brand in Türkiye. With that, a handful of Turkish originals were put into production, including El Turco (starring Can Yaman), Aktris (starring Pınar Deniz), Kaçis (starring Engin Akyürek), Atatürk (starring Aras Bulut İynemli), Nomen (starring Halit Ergenç) and many more.
Fast forward to 2023, of the series that were put into production, five have premiered on Disney+ globally and Hulu in the United States, the aforementioned Aktris and Kaçis, as well as the Aslı Enver-led mystery drama Arayıs, thriller Ben Gri and romantic drama Dünyayla Benim Aramda, starring Demet Özdemir and Buğra Gülsoy.
On July 1st, several Turkish originals and licensed Turkish content on Disney+ and Hulu vanished, leaving viewers to wonder about the reason behind their removal.
Although this disappearing act of content just made its way to Türkiye, it has been prevalent in the United States for some time, with over 100 original series removed by Disney and the likes of Warner Bros. Discovery (HBO) and Paramount. The reason? Cost-saving, apparently.
In Q2, Disney took out a $1.5 billion tax write-off by shredding titles from its streaming services and at the time, the brand anticipated another $400 million “impairment charge” related to film and TV content, as reported by Bloomberg. In simpler terms, Disney's decision to remove content eliminates the need for them to pay licensing fees and streaming residuals. The latter is currently determined by a service's number of domestic subscribers, according to Variety
It remains unclear how this will affect the actors who have exclusive contracts with the brand. Nonetheless, reports indicate that Disney has suspended the creation of Turkish original content until at least 2025. This decision, however, will not affect the October release of the eagerly-awaited Atatürk series starring Aras Bulut İynemli, which details the life of the revered founder of Turkiye.